One dead in fire on Russia's sole aircraft carrier

Moscow (AFP) - A naval serviceman died and an officer was missing Thursday after Russia's only aircraft carrier caught fire in an Arctic shipyard, the latest accident to raise concern over the future of the navy flagship.

Russian news agencies quoted the Zvezdochka shipyard as saying the fire started during wielding operations in an engine room of the Admiral Kuznetsov, and investigators have launched a probe into possible construction violations.

"A Northern Fleet serviceman died during works to put out the source of smoke," the fleet said in a statement to AFP.

A search was ongoing for an officer of the Admiral Kuznetsov who descended to the location of the welding works to help evacuate the workers.

An official in the Murmansk regional government, minister of information policy Alexandra Kondaurova, told AFP that 10 people were hospitalised, one of whom was in serious condition.

Television footage showed emergency workers near the ship, which was spewing dark grey smoke from one side. The Northern Fleet said in a statement to Russian agencies that hospitalised servicemen suffered from smoke inhalation.

Interfax reported that the fire had spread over an area of about 600 square metres (6,500 square feet) and quoted a source describing the blaze as "very serious".

Russia's industry ministry told AFP that once the fire is out, officials would launch a probe and evaluate the extent of damage.

The Admiral Kuznetsov, which is not nuclear powered, became fully operational in 1995 and is the flagship of the Russian navy.

The repairs were expected to be completed by the end of 2020, with the carrier resuming active service in 2021.

The vessel was deployed to the Mediterranean in 2016 and early 2017 to strike targets in Syria and help Moscow ally President Bashar al-Assad recapture rebel-held areas in the war-torn country.

- 'Ship of shame' -

The ship led a naval group off the Syrian coast, with fighters from the carrier hitting more than 1,200 targets during its mission.

It also stopped off the coast of Libya in January 2017 and took on board military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who Russia has reportedly backed in the country's long-running civil conflict.

Britain's then-defence minister Michael Fallon dubbed the Admiral Kuznetsov Russia's "ship of shame" for its role in the Syria conflict.

The ship suffered several mishaps during the mission, including the crash of two fighter jet into the sea while trying to land on the carrier.

The repairs and upgrades -- with a reported cost of up to 62 billion rubles ($1.0 billion/880 million euros) -- were to focus on the ship's power plant and onboard electronic systems.

The collapse last year of a crane on the ship's deck, which killed one worker and caused major damage, raised concerns the work would be delayed and the carrier would remain out of commission beyond the 2021 deadline.

Russia's navy has battled problems with state financing, ageing shipyards and delays in fulfilling orders for new ships.

In the last six years, three fires have been reported on submarines under repair.

The Admiral Kuznetsov was to be the first of a new fleet of Soviet aircraft carriers, but the Russian navy has been hit by a huge drop in funding since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

The hull of what was to be its sister ship was sold by Ukraine to China, completed, and christened as the Liaoning.

The USSR had five aircraft carriers at the height of its power.


More Related News

Ex-FBI Director Comey to testify to U.S. Senate on Russia probe
Ex-FBI Director Comey to testify to U.S. Senate on Russia probe
  • US
  • 2020-09-30 11:06:52Z

Comey, who Trump dismissed in May 2017, will appear before the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. (14:00 GMT) to discuss an FBI probe of Trump campaign officials, code-named "Crossfire Hurricane." Senate Republicans say the probe, which was later handed off to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was intended to undermine Republican Trump's candidacy and presidency.

Macron: Europe should talk with Russia to enhance security
Macron: Europe should talk with Russia to enhance security
  • US
  • 2020-09-30 09:24:15Z

French President Emmanuel Macron urged Europe to seek a dialogue with Russia to enhance the continent's security rather than relying primarily on the NATO military alliance. Speaking Wednesday in a news conference in Riga, the capital of the Baltic nation of Latvia, Macron said Europeans should be able to rethink their relation with Russia despite recent tensions after the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. "Our collective security imposes that, given geography, we need to discuss with Russians," he insisted.

Russia to supply Egypt with COVID-19 vaccine in expansion push
Russia to supply Egypt with COVID-19 vaccine in expansion push
  • US
  • 2020-09-30 07:03:13Z

Russia has clinched a deal with Egypt to supply it with 25 million doses of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, as Moscow seeks to take a leading global role in fighting the pandemic. Russia's sovereign wealth fund, RDIF, said on Wednesday it had agreed to supply the vaccine doses to Egypt via Pharco, which it described as one of the country's leading pharmaceutical groups. "The agreement between RDIF and Pharco will help Egypt obtain an efficient and safe vaccine, Sputnik V, for almost 25% of its population," RDIF chief executive Kirill Dmitriev said in a statement.

'I stand by those decisions.' Former Russia special counsel Robert Mueller counters criticism by a top aide

Robert Mueller took issue with a book by former prosecutor Andrew Weissmann who said the team should have sought to force an interview with Trump.

Armenians Fear Turkey Is Back to Finish Off the Genocide
Armenians Fear Turkey Is Back to Finish Off the Genocide
  • World
  • 2020-09-29 16:36:12Z

MOSCOW-The fighting in a mountain enclave in the Caucuses escalated Tuesday when Turkish-backed forces shelled five villages including the capital of Stepanakert, according to Armenian officials.Skirmishes broke out on the border of Azerbaijan and Armenia over the weekend and the official death toll is over 100 as a decades-old dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh or the Republic of Artsakh erupted into violence.Artsakh is an ethnic Armenian pocket that was once part of Azerbaijan's territory but now hews closely to Armenia against the wishes of Turkey, which has lucrative oil and gas deals with Azerbaijan and a long-standing enmity with Armenia.The Daily Beast reported on Monday that Turkey...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Asia